On a sweltering afternoon a bunch of neighbourhood kids were busy turning the white decorative stones in my garden into ladybirds, Easter eggs – and in the case of my son, random funny faces with slogans like “autch” and “go away”. One of the girls worked really hard to turn hers into the flag of Mexico, one of her heritage countries.
I was pretty impressed with their imagination and more importantly, thoroughly enjoying one of those precious moments when the kids are beautifully concentrated on their work and chattering sensibly to each other – while you admire them from behind a glass window with a cup of coffee in hand.
This must have been my lucky week, since the following morning my kids were still on painting mode. Inspired by the beautiful Mexico flag they wanted to create flags of their own. They started with the ones they knew but were soon asking for more. Failing to locate the book on flags of the world, we pulled out the iPad and off they went. They scrolled up and down at the list of flags, admiring colours, spelling out names of the countries and competing to match friends and relatives with flags.
The kids came up with an obscure but very cool collection of flag stones that could easily be used in countless ways to learn about the world. They could be spread on a giant map of the world, used to talk about languages or divided according to continents – the possibilities are endless! We didn’t get quite that far yet but the stones are now a permanent fixture in the garden and regularly spur discussions on geography.
While my kids go to a conventional school, I experienced a glimpse of what I’ve heard my home schooling friends talk about: the satisfaction of seeing kids learn at their own pace and driven by their natural curiosity. What started as a random craft experiment with paints and stones from the garden turned into a fantastic showcase of children’s imagination and will to learn.
If you want to try this one out, all you need is:
- poster paints (or acrylic if you are feeling brave)
- pencil and markers
- images of flags
- decorative stones, white ones work the best
This is a guest post by my friend who is also the founder of Happy Go KL and who recently recruited me to join her writing team! Happy Go KL is a family and lifestyle blog from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We write about life in KL with kids: family friendly activities, restaurants and holiday destinations in Asia. You can check out our site here and our join us on Facebook here!